When it comes to digital marketing, businesses are typically eager to get started with social media, digital advertising and other online marketing tactics.
But before we can dive into any of that, we often need to take a step back and look at ways to optimize and improve the company’s website. After all, what good is sending traffic to the website if it’s not adequately positioned to drive leads and sales?
Oftentimes, companies make critical website mistakes they don’t even realize. In those instances, it’s fairly easy to tell when a site needs to be overhauled.
But, other times, it might not be so immediately apparent. Running the site through a battery of analytics and testing can help us uncover how well the site is performing in a variety of areas and help us determine what areas to test, tweak or perhaps even overhaul.
Website Performance Analysis Tools
If you want to make sure your company website is up to snuff, here are some tools you can use to test and analyze website performance.
If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your website, do it now. The tool is free and it helps you uncover all sorts of useful data about your website.
Here are just a few of the things Google Analytics can help you discover:
- Number of Pageviews
- Number of Visitors
- How long visitors stay on the site
- Traffic sources (how people get to your site)
- Top content (which pages people are visiting most)
- Search terms used to find your site
- Conversions based on goals you set
If your site uses WordPress, this simple guide walks you through the process of setting up Google Analytics.
2. Heat Mapping
While Google Analytics is an amazing tool, there are some gaps in what it offers you. For instance, Google Analytics will tell you how many people visited your “About” page from the home page of your website. But, it will not be able to tell you which of the three links or buttons people clicked to get there.
That’s why tools like Crazy Egg are so valuable. It uses heat maps and click mapping technology help you see where people are clicking on your website, how far they scroll down the page. It also segments your site by visitor type so you can see how different users are experiencing your site.
I’ve been using Crazy Egg for my site, along with several client websites and it’s been incredibly useful in uncovering ways to optimize site design to lead website visitors down the path you want them to go.
3. Speed Test
Have you ever been to a website that took far too long to load so you abandoned it and went somewhere else?
Yeah, me too.
That’s why testing website load times is important. In fact, here’s a great graphic that shows how load times impact your bottom line.
If you’re not sure how fast your website loads, use Pingdom’s Website Speed Test. It’s a free to use. Simply enter your website URL and it will give you the load speed and a performance grade for your site.
If you want other options, here are other free speed test tools you can use.
Bottom line — if your site is taking longer than 2-3 seconds to load, you need to explore ways to improve the speed of your site.
4. Readability Test
One of the biggest problems I see on company websites poorly written copy laced with industry jargon. Although there’s not a website jargon detector (that I’m aware of, anyway), you can use a simple tool to test the readability of your site.
The Readability Test Tool can tell you the average reading level for any given web page. Most websites should fall between 6th and 9th grade reading level, but this will largely depend on your target audience. This is just one tool to help you see how well your website can be understood by visitors.
5. Usability Test
Usability testing is another way to get feedback about website performance.
Certainly, one way to do this is through surveys. This can either be pop-up surveys you see when visiting websites or you can send a separate survey to your clients and customers to get their feedback on your website.
However, if you’re more interested in feedback from prospects and first time web visitors, there are a number of low-cost usability tools that you can use.
For instance, Feedback Army allows you to submit questions and get feedback on your site. For $20, you can get responses from 10 website reviewers. If you want even more detailed feedback, UserTesting.com will give you a video of someone visiting your site and sharing their feedback as they go. This service is $49 per reviewer.
5. A/B Split Testing
A/B split testing is a fantastic way to find ways to improve conversions on your site — whether it may be email subscriptions, lead capturing forms, sign-ups or purchases.
What this allows you to do is to test two versions of a web page to see which one
achieves a higher conversion rate. You might test elements like page layout, sales copy and headlines, images, buttons and calls-to-action. Doing this takes the guesswork out of which design is better and helps you see which one gets better results.
There are a number of tools that can help you do this. Here are a few:
- Visual website optimizer
- Google analytics experiments — this is formerly Google webmaster tools and now lives inside of Google Analytics
6. Mobile Website Test
More and more people are using their smart phone or tablet to navigate the web, it’s important that your site is compatible on these devices.
To see how your website stacks up on mobile devices, there are a few tools you can use to test that.
MobiReady and W3C MobileOK Checker score your site on a variety of factors to help you see where it works and where it doesn’t. Mobile Phone Emulator actually shows you what your site looks like on a mobile device, which is also very handy.
7. SEO Reports
If you want to know how well your site is performing with search engines, there are a few SEO tools that can help.
SEOmoz is perhaps the top SEO resource on the web. They have a very robust pro tool that offers link analysis, rank tracking and so much more. If you don’t want to pay for their tool, you can still get benefit from their free offering, Open Site Explorer. It tells you the number of links to your site (and what those links are), the common anchor text used to link to your site and the top pages on your site.
SEMRush is another professional SEO tool, but they also offer a free report that gives some great information. For instance, it tells you organic keywords used to find your site and how you rank for those particular keywords. It also tells you who your top competitors are for those keywords
WooRank is another pro tool that gives you one free search a week. Their tool delivers some basic tips on how to improve your website’s search results.
It’s Your Turn
Once you’ve used these tools, you’ll have a lot more data and insight about ways to optimize and improve your site.
Have you used any of these website optimization tools? Do you have any tools that you would add to this list?
Image credit: zzpza